Taken together, the hundreds of works that comprise the Season of Cambodia festival tell the story of a country that is experiencing unprecedented change as it begins a cultural renaissance. Through its humanities events, academics and artists will provide context for the performances, exhibits and screenings being shown throughout New York City. Because the majority of artists who made up Cambodia’s thriving arts scene in the 1960s and early ‘70s were targeted and killed, preserving memories has been crucial to maintaining Cambodian identity. This documentation has happened through various mediums. The glass-plate photographs of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia from 1927 that are being exhibited at the New York Public Library are a metaphor for the great efforts that have been made to recover Cambodia’s traditions before they were lost. Contemporary painter Vann Nath, who died in 2011, was not able to photograph his experiences as a prisoner at the S-21 prison camp, but his memories of it were brushed onto the canvasses he created after the war, and these canvasses are now a testament to the experience of the 1.7 million people who died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. A conference on creation and post-memory—the way in which memories are formed by those who did not directly experience traumatic events—will be held in conjunction with an exhibition featuring his paintings. As Cambodian artists deal with the past, they are also shaping its future, from within the country and as part of a global community spanning the diaspora. A symposium on art and urbanization will look at what it means to create a living arts city in Phnom Penh, while two panels will bring together leading Cambodian artists to talk about the unique contemporary intersection being created between Cambodians from inside and outside the country. 


Dance    Visual Arts    Ritual & Theater    Music    Film    Humanities